Aug 21 2009
The A.C.L.U. is working with the defense lawyers’ association in a joint effort to provide civilian lawyers and research assistance to the military defense lawyers who are representing clients who have been charged with terrorism crimes related to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, before a military commission.
The Justice Department is investigating whether three military defense lawyers for detainees at the Guantánamo prison illegally showed their clients photographs of C.I.A. interrogators, two leaders of civilian legal groups that are working with the defense lawyers said Thursday.
Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation approached the three lawyers with the Judge Advocate General’s Corps nearly two weeks ago, said Anthony D. Romero, president of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is helping the military lawyers defend the detainees in military commissions.
The agents informed the uniformed lawyers of their right to remain silent, and then questioned them about whether they showed their clients pictures o fCentral Intelligence Agency officials — possibly including covert agents — that came from an “independent investigation” by the A.C.L.U. and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Mr. Romero said.
“This is a misguided effort, a diversion of investigative resources, and blatant effort to shut down the zealous defense of defendants at these sham proceedings at Guantánamo,” he said.
Defense lawyers contend their clients were illegally tortured and are considering calling the C.I.A. officers to the witness stand if the military commission trials — which President Obama halted shortly after he took office, but has since proposed reviving in a modified form — are resumed. Several of the detainees could be executed if convicted.
“Identifying who tortured our clients and what they did to them and when is an essential part of defending their interests in these sham proceedings,” he said. NY TIMES
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